(WINDSOR, ON) – Helga Reidel, the city’s highly paid chief administrator, seems to be on some kind of spending spree with taxpayers’ hard earned money, including paying for her subordinates to party hearty. What is most nauseating is that no one is riding shotgun on her spending. She has, as they say, the whole arena to herself.
Some of her big purchases are downright disappointing, in the sense not one councillor seems to be aware, or even concerned, money is flying out the door at city hall.
Certainly, most pernicious is her forking out $7,800 for a big soiree to, apparently, recognize up to 300 of her minions. It will be held over at the Fogolar Furlan next month. There is additional information on the big spend, but the city conveniently omitted it from a public report.
Unsurprisingly, there is no indication Riedel is also planning a big wing-ding to recognize taxpayers. This begs the question, “Why do well-paid city workers, with generous pension plans, need to be treated to a free dinner when taxpayers get nothing?”
Residents also suffer the ignominy of having their favourite parks, pools, recreation centres, and arenas closed down because the city is so short of funds it has to punish ratepayers to pay the operating losses at Francis Council white elephants.
It is a slap in the face to all taxpayers to have the bureaucrats partying at their expense. Reidel, of course, has managed honestly enough to acquire free range to spend as she likes, without council approval. Her office was granted special spending powers seven years ago with by-law 208-2008.
It is also known as the Declaration of Abdication, and for good reason.
It was one of the manoeuvres failed former mayor Eddie Francis used to largely neuter his council and put them, for all intents and purposes, out of business, other than for ceremonial rubber stamping of his tax-and-spend ways.
With the Declaration, the Francis Council seems to have given bean counter Reidel, and her gang, control of the city’s purse.
Is Reidel even using the money wisely? It is debatable at best.
It turns out, she has also given herself approval to spend $31,500, to add insult to injury. She has agreed to pay a consultant from Toronto to supervise the ward meetings going on to publicize the mayor’s misguided 20-year plan. It is the one ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens had the consultant write for him because, apparently, he is so bereft of ideas on what the city should do.
According to information from city hall, the segments are only an hour long. Attending at one in each ward adds up to ten hours of work with the consultant remunerated at about $3,150 an hour.
Of course there may be other expenses, and possibly preparation time, for the consultant to get psyched up. Nonetheless, it is certainly nice work if you can get it.
The other aspect of this is the plan the consultant produced is hardly strategic and certainly not something people familiar with such plans would recognize.
From what the city has received which, by the way, included a nice compliment to the administrators, the students probably could have done a much better job. And without travel expenses, the city might have saved some money.
However, who needs to save money given taxpayers have so much. They must.
They pay some of the highest taxes in the province and even more costly surcharges. It is apparently enough to keep Reidel gainfully employed, spending their money on a consultant from Toronto and hosting a big night of civil service partying.
Would she be so spend-ready if the city had an Auditor General?
If you happen to see more incidental spending by the city, The Square would be pleased to know.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.